Archive for the ‘videos’ Category


13 July 2010

One of our vacation days at Lapa Rios, we spent the morning on a boat watching dolphins!  This was definitely one of the best days we had in Costa Rica, and since they were all pretty darn good that says a lot!  We were charmed and captivated by the bottlenosed, spotted, and spinner dolphins we saw in the Golfo Dulce.

The day started early, and we had ordered fruit and ginger cookies from the kitchen to take along as a snack.  They gave us way too much fruit, but we ate some of it.  We were driven to Puerto Jimenez, where we had the opportunity to use the Lapa Rios Office bathroom before boarding our boat.  Soon we were in the midst of a pod of dolphins!

They came right up to the boat, even mothers with babies!  They blew spray into our faces, turned to check us out, and zig-zagged off into the distance.  Sometimes they raced the boat, other times they played in the wake.

It was MOST exciting when the dolphins leaped out of the water, sometimes right nearby!  This happened first only a few moments after our guide told us that the dolphins could leap six feet out of the water.  Suddenly one did, right next to us!  It is VERY tricky to capture the leaps in a still photo, but we had three cameras capable of video with us, and one that can shoot 30 frames of still shots per second.  So we got a few good shots, a lot of photos of splashes, and this collection of video clips I’ve assembled (and edited down from way too long to watch):

I knew them when…

22 June 2010

Some graduates of the school where I teach made this video about the BP reaction to their spill.  It is very well done, but does contain some lyrics like b**ch, motherf**ker, and s**t, so it isn’t something you want to show your kid or play at top volume at work.  But it is funny!  If you like it, please pass on the link to people you know.

My kind of party

31 May 2010

I was invited to a party with a theme of science.  I was invited to bring whatever demos I wanted.  The host was one of my colleagues, and the party was in honor of a woman who is moving back to Hawai’i.  She felt that science was lacking in her education and requested a physics party.

The party was two days ago.

My colleague had acquired some liquid nitrogen, so he used it to freeze cheetos, which we all ate and “breathed smoke.”  He also exploded a few small plastic bottles, tossed some in the swimming pool, made ice cream with it, froze flowers and made them shatter, and shrank balloons down so that three of them fit inside a small metal pot.

He and his son had also created a small amount of thermite, leading to the quote of the evening: “Here, I’ll hold your beer while you light the thermite.”  We expected bright flames and sparks, but there was little to see.  Nobody got hurt!

I brought a 9-volt battery which I used to ignite some steel wool, which illustrates why you need fuses or circuit breakers in your home.  I also distributed “palm pipes” which are short pieces of PVC pipe that are “tuned” to produce certain notes when one open end is whacked against the palm of your hand.  Then I conducted several short tunes which the entire party could participate in performing.  I also brought along my geyser kit: some string, bricks, plastic bottles, a large plastic trash can, and some dry ice.  It turns out that when you fill the trash can with water, put some chips of dry ice in a plastic bottle tied to some bricks, seal the bottle and drop the bottle and bricks into the trash can, you get this:


21 January 2010


Jack O’lantern

1 November 2009

This year, I built a Larson scanner from the EMSL kit, and installed it in my pumpkin.